Aurora’s Grootvlei to get capital injection

[] — IT’S all systems go at controversial Aurora Empowerment Systems after it finally received an undisclosed capital injection from Swiss investment group, Global Emerging Markets (GEM).

The company is also likely to attract the attentions of mines minister Susan Shabangu who said in Pretoria today the company’s activities were not her concern because the mine was on care and maintenance.

Enver Motala, the joint provisional liquidator of Pamodzi Gold, the former owner of the assets Aurora is seeking to refinance, said in an interview with Miningmx on Tuesday he was “happy’ that the company had received the financial backing. He refused to divulge the sum of the money which was thought to be in the region of R50m – enough to pay salaries and other basic mine services.

“This is an encouraging sight,’ Motala said, adding that this would provide much needed relief to the mining business owned by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela – the grandson of former president Nelson Mandela.

“Aurora is now positioned to recommence mining operations as early as next week, but on a limited scale.’

Motala said the liquidators advised Aurora not to repeat the same mistake of undertaking full scale operations before ensuring they have the necessary financial support.

“We hope the company will meet the November deadline that we have set for them as that would be great news,’ he said.

Although the interim funds will not push the mines back to full operating status, it should inject much needed cash into employees’ pockets that have not been paid since March.

“We are awaiting a plan of action from Aurora and it is expected that in the meantime the funds will be used to bring employees salaries up to date and start clearing out other minor debts issues,’ Motala said.

Thulani Ngubane, Aurora’s commercial director, confirmed that GEM had kept its word.

“Right now we are still talking to the Reserve Bank to finalise things,’ said Ngubane.
He said Aurora would call a media briefing to clarify the details of the tragic events that took place last week at the firm’s Grootvlei mine in the East Rand – among other issues.

Shabangu dismissive

Aurora’s gold mining activities were front page news last week after it emerged there was an underground running battle between security forces employed at Aurora’s Grootvlei mine and alleged “illegal’ miners operating in the mine, currently in mothballs.

Commenting on those events, Shabangu said she deplored illegal mining because it was “quite simply criminal”, but added that her minerals resources department would not be taking any action.

“You must go and ask Aurora what it is up to?” said Shabangu. “What they are doing to their labourers is a matter for labour law, the National Union of Mineworkers, and the labour department.”

“My inspectors are to do with operating mines. This one (Grootvlei) is on care and maintenance,” she said.